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Ministries Seek Churches Working with Disabled Vets

July 31, 2013

Rev. Mark Stephenson, director of the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Disability Concerns, is asking churches that offer ministries to disabled veterans to send him information about the type of work that they are doing.

Stephenson says he is looking to include this information in stories that he plans to publish in his office’s upcoming newsletter titled Breaking Barriers. He hopes to have this information in hand by Aug. 16.

As part of this project, he and Rev. Ron Klimp, director of the CRC’s Chaplaincy & Care Ministry, are also trying to determine the type of special resources they might be able to provide to churches seeking to do ministry with disabled veterans.

“We have a mutual interest in getting information from CRCs about their ministry with veterans,” says Stephenson.

Stephenson says they would like to know how churches have been impacted by veterans living with conflict-related disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, or other injuries.

“We thought we'd like to ask whether churches are aware of returning vets in their midst, how they are attempting to assist them, and whether our two ministries could do anything to encourage this (like providing resource referrals, arranging for a military chaplain to visit and discuss this, working with disability advocates, etc.).”

Klimp says he suspects that because of the number of military personnel returning from conflicts in the near east most churches will have direct or indirect connections with at least one of these veterans.

“All of these should be given a warm welcome back and a thank you for their service. Many of these will have a challenging adjustment back to civilian life.

“Some will have visible effects of the war and many will have invisible effects. They and their families deserve all the support and assistance that we can give them,” says Klimp.

Stephenson says Reformed Church in America congregations are also being solicited to see what type of ministries they have for disabled veterans.

To provide information for Breaking Barriers, you can post a comment on The Network, email: [email protected]., or phone (US): 616-224-0844 or 888-463-0272; (Canada) 905-336-2920 (x 279) or 800-730-3490.